Election 2023: ACT's David Seymour says coalition discussions are 'collegial', reveals challenge of three-way negotiations

ACT leader David Seymour says coalition discussions are "collegial" but concedes three parties trying to come to an agreement has its challenges. 

It's been more than a month since the general election but New Zealand still doesn't have a government as coalition discussions between ACT, National and New Zealand First drag on. On Wednesday Seymour met with Christopher Luxon and Winston Peters in Auckland for the first time. 

Speaking with AM on Thursday, Seymour said the atmosphere is "collegial" but because there are three parties involved it's taking some time.  

"I think it can happen very quickly but the other two guys will probably tell you the same thing. What we can't say is how it's going to end when you've got one person who can't dictate to two others what the deal ends up being and also when the deal is getting signed," Seymour told AM co-host Ryan Bridge. 

He said he understands voters' frustrations but it's key the three parties form a strong and stable government. 

"I know a lot of people are increasingly frustrated by it but that's the dynamic we're dealing with," he said.

"It's part of a wider process where you've got three [parties] who were competitors, quite tough competitors, right up until the final votes were cast. Suddenly they're becoming co-operators who have to put together a coherent government programme... and that means that you've got to each support what the others' agenda is and you've got to make sure that triangle all firms up. 

"You've got to first of all talk to each other as a twosome and then bring together three." 

But Seymour offered his voters some reassurance they would be seeing results. 

"If you're someone who trusted ACT with your party vote, we are grateful for that and I thank you, and I can assure you that we are pushing hard for all of our agenda that makes sure that we don't just change the government, we change the direction of New Zealand.  

"Now of course, as I said, three competitors now cooperating, forming one direction for a government, because it has to be a coherent government, it has to be stable, it has to be united, so will you get the ACT manifesto as the future of New Zealand? No, you won't...but that's the nature of MMP."

Overall Seymour hit back at suggestions Peters was pulling power plays during the negotiations, saying so far they have been "collegial".  

"So far I would say collegial," Seymour said when asked to sum up the atmosphere of the negotiations.  

Watch the full interview above.